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“Buy Art, Not Drugs”: Art Fair & Critique in Salt Lake City, Utah

Learn more about the "Buy Art, Not Drugs" fair that was put together by Utah high school art teachers for their students.

On March 21st, I was scrolling through an artwork hashtag on Instagram during my lunch break at work when I came across this post by Connection High School teacher, Justin Wheatley:


I was immediately on board, especially having gone to high school in a city where drug use was prevalent and where our school district had begun to defund our art and music programs. That being said, I ran home and threw some prints in a mailer and got to the post office 5 minutes before it closed.

This art fair, titled “Buy Art, Not Drugs,” was focused on providing students with opportunity to learn about different art styles and encouraged them to spend $2-$10 on a piece of original work of art instead of a vending machine snack. The focus of this fair, organized by art teachers Justin Wheatley and Clint Whiting, wasn’t to sell to students (most of the students at this publish alternative high school are on a free or reduced lunch) but to teach them how surrounding themselves with artwork can enrich their homes and their lives.

100% of the proceeds from the 31 works of art that sold during the fair (April 15) have been re-invested in students through the Granite Foundation, which provides food, supplies, and glasses to students.

It was exciting to have donated 2 works of art to this art fair (“Jaguar” and “Papaya”)! I loved following along as the fair was occurring and seeing the students’ reactions to art.

The Buy Art, Not Drugs project is still ongoing. Learn more at

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